She touched on the problem of failing schools and the challenge they represent to the American dream. "The crisis in K-12 education is a threat to the very fabric of who we are," she said, to thumping agreement. But when she mentioned her own story, the hall erupted. "A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham. The segregated city of the south where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have convinced her that even if she cannot have a hamburger at Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be and she becomes the secretary of state."
The house went wild with joy. The Republicans in Tampa, Fla., metaphorically lifted Rice onto their shoulders and carried her around the arena. Why? Because Americans such as Rice ratify what Republicans believe about this country -- that our triumph over racism and discrimination -- not the history of it, is what defines us. It's the opposite of the Democrats' message -- that racism, discrimination and injustice are deep-dyed into the American character.
Democrats go further, too. They encourage the prejudice or to put it more bluntly, circulate the slander that racism and discrimination are not to be found among Democrats but still persist is in the hearts of Republicans.
Just as painting Paul Ryan as a monster who wants to throw grandmothers off cliffs becomes impossible when voters actually see the man, the Tampa convention has made peddling the myth about racist Republicans a good deal more difficult.